OBJECTIVE: Research on the strength model of self-regulation is burgeoning, but little empirical work has focused on the link between distinct types of daily goal pursuit and the depletion of self-regulatory resources. The authors conducted two studies on the link between avoidance goals and resource depletion.
METHOD: Study 1 (283 [228 female] Caucasians, ages 18-51) investigated the concurrent and longitudinal relations between avoidance goals and resource depletion over a 1-month period. Study 2 (132 [93 female] Caucasians, ages 18-49) investigated the concurrent and longitudinal relations between avoidance goals and resource depletion over a 1-month period and explored resource depletion as a mediator of the avoidance goal to subjective well-being relation.
RESULTS: Studies 1 and 2 documented both a concurrent and a longitudinal negative relationship between avoidance goals and self-regulatory resources, and Study 2 additionally showed that self-regulatory resources mediate the negative link between avoidance goals and subjective well-being. Ancillary analyses demonstrated that the results observed in the two studies were independent of neuroticism.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings advance knowledge in both the resource depletion and avoidance goal literatures, and bolster the view that avoidance goal pursuit over time represents a self-regulatory vulnerability.